Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dallas Dance: Dancing Into School Districts with Digital Devices

Resigned BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance Takes Consulting JobsBy Joanne C. Simpson
Dallas Dance could be coming to a school district near you. For a visit anyway. Dance’s new role after leaving his $275,000 annual superintendent job at Baltimore County Public Schools after June 30–at least two national consulting gigs.
Both companies, MGT Consulting Group and the Center for Digital Education, have had at least tangential relationships with numerous BCPS vendors, the superintendent, or the school system itself.
Recently, Dance announced a full-time position with MGT Consulting Group, a large Florida-based educational consulting company with offices nationwide.
Among other goals for the for-profit consulting group: “Future-Facing. MGT recognizes the changing face of education, as requisite knowledge shifts and desirable goals are reimagined so students are prepared for a 21st century workplace. With our broad knowledge background and significant experience, we will give you solutions that are appropriate and actionable.”
A current focus of MGT Consulting, one shared by Dance, is “technology strategic planning:” “Our experts know how to effectively produce strategic planning documents including all necessary inputs and are able to present the technology strategic plans to governing bodies in a way that encourages adoption.”
Dance’s strategic planning skills are evident in reports for BCPS, including Blueprint 2.0. Yet there are questions about the financial efficacy–as well as no objective evidence of positive student learning outcomes–for Dance’s signature laptop-per-student initiative known as Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (STAT).
Among other issues, Baltimore County’s standardized PARCC student test scores last year came in lower than districts in the region, and in some cases dropped below the state average. Still unproven since launched in 2014, STAT nonetheless is being used widely–by Dance and others, including BCPS’ digital director Ryan Imbriale–as an example to replicate in other school districts around the country.
Dance and other top district administrators have also traveled widely across the U.S., spending hundreds of thousands in taxpayers dollars to do just that. See post with details here.

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